How To Determine What You Can't Live Without

Most of the time we succeed when we're thrown back into something we felt like we could never do again. For a while, I stopped writing. Turning pages of books and journals into garbage, trading them in for guitar riffs and debauchery. When that became too much, I left the music alone, often operating on the base level of..."I have to get all of this out, but how...?"


So I started painting and drawing, vigorously throwing things onto canvasses that would never see the light of day. Splatters of paint and sometimes blood, littering the floor of my flophouse like room in my college homestead. There must be art. And whether I liked it or not, I couldn't live without it.


Once I left the writing alone for a while, I gained a greater appreciation for it. I ended up going back on my own, not for any capitol gain, not for any job, but just for the sake of doing it. No matter how much fun we have while doing something, if it turns into a job...we'll start to hate it. Work, by definition cannot be fun. Unless you work doesn't feel like work. Then, it can become fun again.

When I started treating music like a job, I lost all connection with it. For some reason, the melodies that had come out so easily, when I sat down and concentrated for a moment, had just gone away. They left my brain and whisked off into the wind. I couldn't follow them. I didn't have any recourse. So I cursed my guitar, and took a few months off. Leaving all of my goals and dreams out on the curb with yesterday's garbage.


Every time I'd see a musician on stage, my heart would fill with unbridled jealousy, rage. Why couldn't I do this...why couldn't this be my life. Why couldn't I make it?


There wasn't an explanation. And there might never be, but I have to try though. Right? With time and money constraints it's not practical to give it all up right now to be a slagging musician right? But that thought is always in the back of my mind.

I think we all have that one thing that we regard as your passion. Something that you abandon when it's inconvenient, but somehow never leaves you. The dreams we tell ourselves that can still happen are the ones we should hold on to.


Nothing should stop you from completing your passion, living your dream...in theory. But in practice? Well, dreams aren't real. They're impractical. And as much as we try to live above the clouds and live that dream, we always end up getting a taste, only to just fall back down to earth, where time is considered money, and music can't pay the bills. '



I entered a Coffee Shop in California and felt like the odd one out. Hip young people, high school and college age, mid thirties all crowded around pushed back tables and fluorescent lighting. All the weekend rockstars were out to play, and for once I didn't feel like one of them.


Coming back to my passion after a little absence hasn't been easy. And as those who treat music as a hobby are just happy to merely perform, those who live and breathe it are waiting with steel in their veins. Cold and hard. Like a tiger waiting to pounce, I am among them. Those who truly love the music,. Who dream of it night and day. I'm not a weekend anything. I'm all or nothing.


I wait and stand in the crowd practicing my indie rock pose. Not caring, hair aloof, make-up elegantly waisted. A pleasant drunkenness about me. A dash of Debby Harry, a splash of Courtney Love, a smattering of Pete Doherty for good luck.


I lurch in the hallway, leaning back and forth on my guitar case, which has been all over the country. Things are spinning internally, like a clock that hasn't been wound in 10 years. 10 years, since I started this racket.

It's funny, because after 10 years of doing something, you think you'd be better at it.


But still, the music sways, and when you're fortunate enough to stand in front of the crowd even for 10 minutes and share what you've got...all is right in the world.


Singing isn't the best part, nor is playing the guitar. It's the performance, the ability to forget who you are and what you've done, and just be...alive, and in that moment.


You're staring out at the blank faces of people you've never met before, but once the music starts, if they like what they're hearing, they come alive. All smiles, clapping and singing, pleasantly surprised that the shambolic blonde from the corner could deliver.


That's what makes the whole thing worth it, life. Finding something that provides a true escape right?


If you keep going back to something after long or short breaks, you can prove to yourself that you can't live without that thing. It's difficult to understand, but if there's a nagging in the back of your mind, a constant reminder...then you may have found your life's passion, whether it's practical or not.


Writing and music. Music and writing. They go hand in hand.

When I slunk off into the night and threw my guitar case in the back of my car, I got this feeling, like the good old days were here again. Pretty melodies and mental crowds, all screaming for me.

The good ship sails on: Musician, Artist, Writer, Poet, Actress Follow me on Twitter: @TessStevens My Music: www.soundcloud.com/TessStevens Vingle.net/TessStevens
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